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Saturday, April 13 2024
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Maldives Severs Another Tie With India as Chinese ‘Spy’ Ship Departs

Maldives
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Male, Maldives: President Mohamed Muizzu of the Maldives has declared that the country will not extend an agreement with India for hydrographic surveys and aims to independently acquire the necessary equipment and resources for such endeavors. Additionally, he revealed plans to implement a 24X7 monitoring system for Maldivian waters this month to safeguard its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), notwithstanding its considerable size.

This decision follows a recent defense cooperation pact between the Maldives and China, signaling a shift in international alliances. Tensions between India and the Maldives escalated when President Muizzu, known for his pro-China stance, assumed office in 2023, demanding the withdrawal of Indian troops shortly thereafter.

President Muizzu’s announcement coincides with increased Chinese maritime activity in the region, including the presence of a research vessel near Male and the Maldives’ EEZ.

Speaking at a ceremony on Monday, President Muizzu emphasized the Maldives’ intention to conduct hydrographic surveys independently, citing the country’s sovereignty over its underwater resources. Previously, under the administration of former President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the Maldives had collaborated with India on such surveys.

This marks the first public statement by President Muizzu regarding his government’s hydrographic survey plans, which align with his broader review of agreements signed with India by previous administrations. The most recent survey, conducted in collaboration with India’s Hydrography Office, began in 2021.

Furthermore, President Muizzu affirmed his government’s commitment to establishing a 24X7 monitoring system for Maldivian waters, addressing concerns about the lack of control over the EEZ’s vast expanse. Currently, the Maldives Coastguard relies on assistance from neighboring countries and foreign allies for patrols and special operations.

The president’s statements reflect a strategic reorientation in the Maldives’ foreign policy, emphasizing self-reliance and sovereignty in maritime affairs.

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